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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mommy, Are We Black?

One frigid winter morning in Northern New York, my three-year-old asked,

“Mommy, are we black?”
I don’t know how often this comes up in the average American household, but I’m guessing it’s not often. Certainly it wasn’t covered in the FAQs of my parenting books.

I first found a black plastic spatula in the kitchen, and put it next to my hand, and then hers. “Are we this color?” I asked. The answer was no.

I then took us both outside, into the 2+ feet of new snow, and we rested both of our hands lightly on top. “Are we this color?” I asked. Again, the answer was no.

The world cannot be defined in such stark terms, and people who insist on doing so - no matter who they are - are either simplistically child-like, or have an agenda to promote.

My answer to her – and I believe this absolutely – is that we are all varying shades of beige. Did I complicate my child's life with this answer? Yes, I did - and we continue to discuss the issue still.

For many people, my daughter's question would have been a "no-brainer"; if you see the world in black and white, it's not a difficult concept. I, too, can see the world this way - but when I put those particular glasses on, my lenses show a social construct rather than a biologically determined outcome.

Frankly, black and white belongs in old photographs or artistic graphic design. I much prefer the vibrant hues of today. When you come right down to the bottom line, we are just people.


  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger Lee Keller King said;

    I think Nicole C. Mullen said it much better than I ever could:

    Nicole C. Mullen - Black,White,Tan Lyrics

    Mama looks like coffee, daddy looks like cream
    Baby is a mocha drop,American dream
    All the colors in the rainbow is in her family tree
    Woven altogether in a paisley tapestry

    She holds real tightly to her parents' hands
    Baby loves that woman,baby loves that man
    And her soul gives a smile
    'Cause she understands
    That love is black,white,tan
    Yeah black,white,tan

    Everyone is precious in the Father's sight
    It don't matter red,or yellow, black or white
    He just loves you 'cause he loves you
    And I tell you this is true
    You are not a color and the color is not you

    Hold real tightly to your Daddy's hand
    Cause He loves that woman,He loves that man
    And let your soul give a smile
    Every once in a while
    Let your soul give a smile
    Every once in a while
    Let your soul give a smile
    Every once in a while

    'Cause love is black, white, tan
    Yeah i know that love is black,white,tan
    Yes i know GOD's love is black,white,tan
    A little girl will tell you
    Black, White, Tan


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